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Hoyt Axton and Swananoah Tunnel


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GUEST,SirCoughsalot 03 Jun 14 - 07:32 AM
Joe Offer 03 Jun 14 - 05:38 PM
GUEST,# 03 Jun 14 - 08:30 PM
GUEST,SirCoughsalot 09 Jun 14 - 11:12 PM
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Subject: Hoyt Axton and Swananoah Tunnel
From: GUEST,SirCoughsalot
Date: 03 Jun 14 - 07:32 AM

I was listening to Hoyt Axton's LP The Balladeer: Recorded Live at the Troubadour. In his introduction to "Swananoah Tunnel" he says, "Contrary to popular belief, a certain well-know folk singer did not, in 1961 on Sunset Strip, write the song 'Swananoah Tunnel'." Does anyone know who this certain well-know folk singer might be? Or if it's anyone specific at all? Tentatively related: who's playing banjo on this album?

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Subject: RE: Hoyt Axton and Swananoah Tunnel
From: Joe Offer
Date: 03 Jun 14 - 05:38 PM

I'm wondering if Axton might have been referring to himself, but I really don't know. I'd say the song is most closely associated with Bascom Lamar Lunsford. The earliest Bascom Lamar Lunsford recording of the song that I could find, was the one he did for Folkways in 1951 or 1952 - but I think he had been singing it long before that.

Look at the Hoyt Axton Discography. His album, The Balladeer, was released in 1962. It was recorded by before a live audience at the Troubadour in West Hollywood. The Troubadour has been on Santa Monica Boulevard since shortly after its 1957 opening. That's maybe four blocks from the Sunset Strip, but I suppose it could be loosely considered to be on the Sunset Strip. So, there are slight discrepancies, but I think the Most Likely Suspect is Axton himself.


Axton recording:

Bascom Lamar Lunsford recording:

Do you have the album jacket, Sir Coughsalot? Who does Axton credit as author of Vandy Vandy???

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Subject: RE: Hoyt Axton and Swananoah Tunnel
From: GUEST,#
Date: 03 Jun 14 - 08:30 PM

Might find that link of interest.

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Subject: RE: Hoyt Axton and Swananoah Tunnel
From: GUEST,SirCoughsalot
Date: 09 Jun 14 - 11:12 PM

I don't have the sleeve, sadly. But before he sings "Vandy" he tells a long story as an introduction (probably his invention, but I dunno):

"Many, many years ago in Winston-Salem, North Carolina there dwelled a warlock. And he got hold of one young girl by the name of Vandy. And he seduced her. And this upset her mother very much, and her mother happened to have been a witch. So her mother put a curse on this warlock... This thing could've been written by Tennessee Williams or Baudelaire... Well, as they say in the Appalachians, if she ain't good enough for her kinfolk she ain't good enough for me. At any rate, the mother, the witch, put a curse on the warlock. Everything went along fine, until the Civil War, when he ran into one young girl, one young Vandy, and she said, 'No.' So since he couldn't use any force, this was the closest thing to coercion that he could use. He sang a song to her."

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